Here is an exercise we can all do together or you can do by yourself. For this you will need some paper and sometime to write with - be creative - a pen, pencil, crayon, lipstick, you choose :) You can stop reading here to go get some or you can open a new screen on your computer and write some notes or use a napkin :) Again, be creative, it is the end result we want so no worries about being neat.
Ready? Ok, we are going to make two lists and within the lists we are going to make two subtopics. The first subtopic, List A - Dislikes, is a list of all the things that you do not like about others. If you are doing this in a group I encourage you not to share your list, just write your own thoughts and feelings on the paper as this is a personal experience. You will see why a bit later. You don't need to write anyone's name next to the list.
I want you to think of all the people in your life that have irritated you, that you have had conflict or disagreements with. Do you feel others are stubborn, uncooperative, unhelpful, egotistical? Your list can be very long or very short, that is up to you. Get it all out on paper, release it all and let it flow through you,don't hold back. Write until you don't feel like you have anything more productive to add to this list. You can stop reading here to write your list and then come back when you are done. I'll wait right here for you.
Ready? Now let's write out our subtopic two, List B - Likes. This is a list of all the wonderful things that you do like about others. Do you think others are happy, beautiful, helpful, funny? Again, think of all the people in your life and start your list. It can be the things you like about the same people you thought about in List A or others. Let it flow within you and write what you feel. You can stop reading here again and make your list and then come back. I'll wait right here for you.
Ok ready? Now when you first do this exercise I suspect List A might be longer than List B. That's ok. It is all helpful. Ok, now we are going to make another set of lists. But before we write this new list, I want you to take a good look at what you have written already. I want you to read it to yourself. Stop reading here and come back once you have read it all over and have it fresh in your mind.
Be Kind To Yourself
Now turn the list over. Ok, here is the being kind to yourself part. I want you to think of the words you wrote with the idea that all the things you don't like about others are things you don’t like about yourself........let that sink in. What you see in others is a perception of what you see in yourself. We are a mirror of ourselves and that is what we see in others around us. To change how we see others, we must first change how we see ourselves. We must be kind to others to be kind to ourselves. Holding all that negativity inside ourselves is only hurting ourselves and causing illness. You are the only one in your head that knows what you think so let's turn your mind into positive thoughts.
Ok, now I want you to re-write List A - Dislikes by being kind to yourself. Are you really all those things you wrote about others? No you are not and they are not, it is just your perception of what you thought. It's ok, just let it flow again and then let it all go. Maybe your list is still the same.Keep working on it. I suspect your new List A is much shorter now than your first try. I suspect you may not know what to write. How about if you though others were stubborn you now see that they are just focused on their work. Maybe that person you thought was uncooperative is helping the best they can or feels you will learn better by doing the work yourself instead of them doing it for you. Now let your perception focus on the positive aspects of the benefit of the doubt because you would want them to do the same with you, wouldn't you? Take all the time you need and then we will move on. I'll wait right here for you to finish.
Now, this is the last part. I want you to look at your List B - Likes and add anything you now can see in others. This is all the things that you are. You can see these things because you also have these things within you. You are a beautiful person, you are happy, you are helpful, you are fun to be around. You have the ability to be and feel anything you want. It all starts within you and how you perceive yourself and others.
As you move forward you can come back and do this exercise many times. It will become easier and faster the more you do it. You will then be able to do it on the fly when with others. Step back for a moment and look at a person in a different light. What kindness can you see in them. Focus on that as you interact with them. If you can't see any kindness, then step away. Some people are not able to be kind to others so don't put yourself in a situation where someone is hurting you. This is a learning process for you. You can't change others. They need to get there by themselves. Sometimes you need to not interact with some people.
Set your boundaries, center yourself and always be kind to yourself. By doing this you can be kind to yourself by being kind to others. You are a beautiful person and can shine your light in this world to make it a brighter place :)
Maria Lisa Polegatto